For Immediate Release
November 30, 2022
Media Contact: Jonah Bryson | email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson applauded the Department of Justice's (DOJ) proposed order to appoint an Interim Third Party Manager to operate and maintain the city of Jackson, Mississippi's water system. For months now, residents, schools, medical facilities, businesses, and community groups have lacked access to clean, safe water due in large part to decades of systemic neglect and underinvestment by the state.
"The announcement by the Department of Justice to appoint an Interim Third Party Manager to operate and maintain Jackson's water system is welcome news for the city and its residents," said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. "For too long, residents of Jackson have had little recourse as their water system was allowed to crumble. The proposal is indicative of DOJ's recognition that Jacksonians have not been served by the state government and, in fact, have acquiesced to separate, unequal resources. Under the Biden Administration, the Justice Department, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency – which launched an ongoing civil rights investigation into the Jackson Water Crisis – have demonstrated long-overdue federal leadership to investigate the state's systemic disinvestment. The NAACP and our partners will not rest until public officials have taken all appropriate actions to ensure Jacksonians have access to their most basic and fundamental needs including safe, clean water."
In the Stipulated Order, the Justice Department outlines a number of issues that the City has faced regarding its water, many due to lack of resources and funding to create a safe, drinking water system. Across the country, Black cities often bear the brunt of Safe Drinking Water Act violations, due to lack of state and federal resources. Jackson is no exception. However, this Stipulated Order is an opportunity to actually correct these problems.
The NAACP, alongside Jackson residents, has led the fight to prevent Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves from continuing the state's long history of targeted neglect of families in Jackson and surrounding communities.
In October, the EPA agreed to open a federal civil rights investigation into the State of Mississippi, heeding the call from the NAACP, who filed a federal discrimination complaint on behalf of numerous Jackson residents whose health, safety, and livelihoods have been threatened by the ongoing water crisis.
In September, Abre' Conner, Director of Environmental and Climate Justice at NAACP, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, where she clearly identified the intentional, targeted withholding of resources by Mississippi's state government and the need for direct federal intervention and resources as key factors in the water crisis in Jackson